29 October 2016, 10:00 CST
Chicago, IL, USALive Auction
Lot 196: [Okito (Theodore Tobias Bamberg)]. Jack in the Box, or The Learned Judge. Circa 1909. A handsome wooden chest decorated with Asian-themed decals is shown to be filled with dried tea leaves. The lid is clamped on. Now a spectator in the magicianÍs(66 views)
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Estimate: $10,000 - $15,000
Description: [Okito (Theodore Tobias Bamberg)]. Jack in the Box, or The Learned Judge. Circa 1909. A handsome wooden chest decorated with Asian-themed decals is shown to be filled with dried tea leaves. The lid is clamped on. Now a spectator in the magicianÍs audience selects a playing card and places it, face down, into a shallow drawer at the bottom of the chest. When the drawer is closed, the top of the box bursts open, and a Japanese jack-in-the box jumps upward, with the selected card attached to his queue. The drawer in the bottom of the chest is empty. 16 _î high (extended). Decals and finish generally worn, with insignificant losses and chips, but good working condition overall. From the collection of The Great Raymond. A simplification of the famous Learned Judge automaton of Robert-Houdin, OkitoÍs version offered here is a much more startling and to-the-point piece of apparatus. The Robert-Houdin prop allowed for the performance of a longer and more intricate routine using two borrowed coins and the selected card, and was made almost entirely of wood (with the exception of the weights that caused the judge to rise slowly and mysteriously from the top of the cabinet). The same can be said of this prop; the finely crafted brass mechanism and heavy hand-wound spring that causes the jack to pop into view are the only metal incorporated into this rare and delicate piece of apparatus that caused a selected card to appear at the magicianÍs command with a resounding and surprising jolt.